From deserts in the south to lush, old growth forests in the north, California is known across the country for its biological, geological, and cultural diversity. If you have the opportunity to visit California, you can take the safe route and visit Hollywood or Napa Valley, or you could choose to see some really interesting places and sites that too often get overlooked.
Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park (San Bernadino and Riverside).
Source – underground
If you get the opportunity to go camping in Joshua Tree National Park take it. The landscape is like nothing you have ever seen before in your life. The Joshua trees got their names from Mormon settlers passing through the Mohave desert that thought the scraggly trees looked like the Biblical Joshua raising his hands to heaven. The trees themselves have deep roots systems, though they do not grow very tall. As you look down upon them from the nearby rock formations you can see what the Mormons meant. The views at the Hidden Valley Campground during the evening are awe inspiring, and as you gaze out at the desert with its hands raised to the sky even the most cynical hearts will beat with spirituality – it is that beautiful. We won’t even mention what it’s like at night beneath the stars.
Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness (Madera County).
Source – sathishcj
Someone said once that a monkey with a camera could take good pictures of Thousand Island Lake. That someone was right. Ansel Adams is an undisputable photographer, but in the case of this region he didn’t really have to try too hard to make it look beautiful and serene. Thousand Island Lake is an alpine lake in the Sierra Nevadas. Dotted with tiny islands, the lake literally lives up to its name. The wilderness region surrounding it is pristine and green. You can walk paths by foot or rent horses to ride through it. Pack a picnic whatever you do and allow yourself a good hour or two just sitting on the lakeshore.
San Francisco and Marin.
Source – foggydave
This does seem like we’re taking the obvious route here, but San Francisco is a culinary treasure. From the oyster market in Marin to Chinatown to the Mission District this region can cook! Yes, sure, the Golden Gate is a marvel, but so are pork dumplings done right or fresh farmed oysters. Take one of the “Foodie Adventures” tours and see for yourself.
Source – jeroen020
This famous road takes you from “city” to “scenic” and back again. This stretch of road travels the Santa Monica mountains, offering you curves, scenic overlooks, and views that will put both nostalgia and peace into your soul. One particular scenic overlook has been used in countless movies as a “make out” location for teens because of its breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline at night.
San Diego Zoo.
Source – caharley72
The San Diego Zoo is considered the be one of the top zoos in the world, not only for its size but its overall progressive attitude towards the animals and their environments. The zoo houses over 4000 rare and exotic animals, and even has a reputation among animal rights activists (who are usually anti-zoo) for being forward thinking with its Center for Reproduction conservation efforts. The zoo’s sprawling landscape and commitment to the care of its animals allows them to create animal exhibits that mimic the animal’s natural habitat.